Obama will receive a second term, after capturing about 50 percent of the popular vote and 303 electoral votes, compared to Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s 48 percent of the vote and 206 electoral votes as of press time.
The president swept a number of key swing states and, once he took the coveted Ohio, most election trackers predicted him the winner around 11:15 Tuesday night.
Obama took the stage at McCormick Place in Chicago early Wednesday to deliver his victory speech, again referencing diversity, as he did in his 2008 acceptance address.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight — you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try,” he said. “I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”
Obama’s reelection was resoundingly cheered by the LGBT community.
“As millions of Americans celebrate President Obama’s reelection, the LGBT community is particularly elated to send the most pro-equality president ever back to the White House for a second term,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement Tuesday night. “There is no doubt that we will continue to see tremendous progress toward full equality like we’ve made during his first four years.”
Obama’s victory made him the first person who openly supports marriage equality ever to be elected president.
Equality Pennsylvania president Ted Martin said Obama’s reelection will be a milestone in the LGBT-rights movement.
“It’s pretty remarkable,” he said. “For a politician, the president of the United States, to publicly come out in support of marriage equality, and to support so many LGBT issues, and to be reelected, that’s remarkable. That gives me tremendous hope. This was a watershed moment. No longer can elected officials say, ‘Well I’ll lose my race if I support these issues.’ If the president of the United States is willing to put his job on the line for this community, and he’s reelected, it makes it really hard for anyone else to use that argument.”
Griffin added that his agency disagreed with pundits who predicted the president’s recent marriage-equality support would hinder the campaign.
He noted that the president’s backing “further rallied millions of voters and sparked conversations” that likely fueled the sweeping marriage-equality victories in a number of states Tuesday.
“His reelection after expressing support for marriage equality is further proof that the momentum is on the side of marriage for all families,” Griffin said.
The president soundly took Philadelphia, receiving more than 85 percent of the vote. Across the state, the race was much closer, but Obama ultimately toppled Romney 52-47 percent in Pennsylvania, which, with its 20 electoral votes, was a big win for the president.
Martin said the president had been polling well in the Keystone State for the past year, and that “four days and a little extra spending by the opposition” wasn’t able to undo Obama’s longterm investment in Pennsylvania.
Martin said that in Obama’s second term, he is looking forward to the president working on such issues as the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, marriage equality and LGBT data collection, as well as for him to appoint progressive judges.
“There are a lot of things that have to be solidified but the beauty is that it doesn’t stop; the more these issues become ingrained in our policies and in our culture, they’re harder to stop,” he said. “If you think about it, we elected our first openly gay U.S. Senator and all four of the marriage-equality votes were on our side. We’re going to look for the president to capitalize on that. LGBT folks went to polls for the president at something like 80 or 90 percent, so I think there are going to be a lot of expectations that he return that support in the next four years.”
In his nearly four years in office, Obama signed into law measures that lifted the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and that incorporated sexual orientation and gender identity into the federal hate-crimes law. He supports the lifting of the Defense of Marriage Act and his administration has ceased defending DOMA in court.
Obama issued a directive ordering hospital-visitation rights for same-sex couples and lifted the ban on entry into the United States by HIV-positive travelers. He also extended some domestic-partner benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees and incorporated gender identity into the nondiscrimination policy for federal employment.